Joliet officials laud jury’s decision on Evergreen Terrace value

Joliet officials won again in court on the Evergreen Terrace issue after a federal court jury on March 17 set the value of the controversial apartment complex around $1 million over the city’s appraisal.

That’s good news for the city, because the owners of the complex set the value at $23.5 million. The city’s estimates were around $14 million. The jury set the price at just over $15 million.

The owners now have 30 days to appeal the ruling.

For nearly 10 years, the city has been working to gain control of Evergreen Terrace, the federally subsidized, low-income apartment buildings at 350 N. Broadway, Joliet. Built during a period of urban renewal in the late 1960s, the 156 units replaced historic 19th Century structures on the west banks of the Des Plaines River.

Officials filed the condemnation lawsuit because they believed the buildings were overcrowded, badly managed and contributed to crime problems in the surrounding area. When the suit was filed, the city proposed tearing down Evergreen Terrace and building a combination of subsidized and market-rate housing there. In September, a federal judge ruled in the city’s favor.

City officials now have several options. They can raze the complex, or they can renovate it. In between those options is a mix of one or another. Since Evergreen Terrace does provide federally subsidized Section 8 housing, the city would be required to find alternative housing in the city for displaced residents.

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